Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

2018 Vernier Engineering Contest Winners

Vernier Software & Technology sponsors a contest for educators to showcase creative uses of Vernier sensors to introduce engineering concepts or engineering practices.

Winner – High School

3D Printed Bumpers

Chris Berg

Montgomery High School
Santa Rosa, California

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Chris Berg, a science, engineering, and math teacher at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, California, wanted to update the classic “egg drop” project to include capturing quantitative differences between impacts. He felt this would be an improvement over the pass/fail evaluation represented by chicken eggs. His 3D-printed bumper project challenges his students to design a bumper that minimizes the force of impact from a dynamics cart crashing into a Vernier Force Sensor. He aligned the activity with NGSS HS-PS2-3 (Apply science and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision). Students work in pairs to design a 3D printed bumper and compare force versus time graphs to a non-engineered bumper (a block of wood). At the conclusion of testing, students create reports detailing the brainstorming, design and testing process, as well as a final conclusion on the performance of their bumper. The project is designed to give students an in-depth, practical application of momentum and impulse that not only aligns with NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas, but also integrates NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practices.

Winner – Middle School

Lighted Speed Bump

Tate Rector

Beebe Junior High
Beebe, AR

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Tate Rector, an engineering and Project Lead The Way teacher at Beebe Junior High in Beebe, Arkansas, had his students use the engineering design process to define a problem facing their school or community and determine a solution. One group of students wanted to make it safer to cross the road on campus when attending nighttime sporting events. They brainstormed ideas and came up with a plan to build an LED lighted speed bump. To create their device, they programmed an Arduino to take readings from a Vernier Motion Detector that detects a person located at the crosswalk. If a person was detected, their Arduino program would turn on an LED strip, illuminating a small speed bump, warning drivers that someone was crossing the road.

Notable Entry – High School

Rube Goldberg Machines with Vernier Sensors

Jen Rushing

Central Coast New Tech High
Nipomo, California

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Jen Rushing at Central Coast New Tech High in Nipomo, California, wanted to incorporate NGSS Science and Engineering Practices into an annual event in her physics class – building an “epic” Rube Goldberg machine. To do this, she challenged students to incorporate sensor feedback control into their projects. The students programmed an Arduino microcontroller and a Vernier Digital Control Unit (DCU) to control a motor based on the input of a Vernier Motion Detector.

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